It’s not the biggest, the brightest or the wealthiest town in Yorkshire, but Northallerton – county town of North Yorkshire – has much to recommend it. It feels real, authentic, with true character and backbone.
Then there’s Northallerton’s setting. Snuggled between the competing beauties of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North York Moors National Park, it’s hardly surprising that some 15-16,000 people choose to live there and many more visit, although it doesn’t feel touristy or overly busy.
It’s commercially well placed too, on what was known as the Great North Road, the main route between London and Edinburgh, and became an important stopping point. Northallerton was established as a market town in 1200 by Royal Charter, and there is still a market in the town today.
There’s a Betty’s in modern-day Northallerton – a major attraction – and a Pizza Express – always a recommendation in my family’s books.
Market day is Saturday, which was the day we visited, and it was wonderful to see a real market spilling from the Town Hall square and down the high street. In Harrogate we just really have German style markets, lovely as they are (does that make Harrogate a German market town?)
We just had a quick visit as I was on a writing job, but I had been told that a visit to the Lewis & Cooper store, in the heart of Northallerton on the main street/square, was an absolute must, so we went there first. I am so so glad we did because it’s amazing, packed with gourmet ingredients delicacies both local and from around the world. Step inside and it just goes on and on. There’s a fab fine wines section towards the back, and the whole place is like a market in itself, busy and bustling, with offers and tastings. It’s an experience.
I bought a whole load of bits and pieces for around £20, including wild boar pate (which I tasted first), two chorizo for £5 – it’s delicious, far superior to the supermarket offerings I have been paying much more for.
There were curry mixes on special offer so I bought those, too. Anyway, I have to return to Northallerton and to Lewis & Cooper – to get some more chorizo and see what else I can pick up. Lewis & Cooper specialises in hampers and you can pick a basket and pick the product all yourself. There’s a special section and counter, also towards the back.
A successful morning’s shopping, I reckon. I’ll be back, and soon.